Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
November 10, 2005
Williams still 'top' team
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.10) Williams has refused to embrace popular
perception that it should no longer count itself among the very 'top'
team players in F1 pitlane.
Having split with BMW, last secured a title in 1997 and finished fifth
in this season's constructors' fight, the team co-owned by Sir Frank
Williams and Patrick Head says it can still be a force.
''In the last three decades,'' technical director Sam Michael told
'Motorsport Aktuell' magazine, ''Williams, McLaren and Ferrari have
dominated formula one.''
He added: ''Renault interfered now and then, but generally that was
always the 'big three'.''
With that in mind, despite having to contest 2006 with effectively a
'customer' Cosworth engine, Australia's Michael said the ultimate goal
will always be to triumph.
''If you don't think like that,'' Michael persisted, ''then even
mentally you're not a top team. We will never be content without
The prospect for 2006, meanwhile, is not all bad. The engine may not
be works backed and the budget may be less, but Michael says the
second wind tunnel is now fully calibrated -- unlike in early '05 when
it supplied bad data.
Also changed is the design front, with Gavin Fisher out the door and
former BAR man Jorg Sander occupying his office.
Michael said: ''We said to (Sander) immediately (in September),
'forget the current car, concentrate on the FW28 for 2006'.'
''We want to start winning again, which is what we have told all of
our sponsors and it's what we have told Cosworth.''
Button backed by ex-champ
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.10) Jacques Villeneuve has backed former teammate
Jenson Button's decision to stay at BAR-Honda in 2006, despite the
Briton earlier signing a binding contract to switch to Williams.
Villeneuve, Williams' 1997 title winner who drove a Sauber this year,
reckons the newly Honda-owned Brackley team he helped to establish
seven years ago has 'a better future' than Frank's Grove squad.
''Definitely the right decision,'' JV, 34, told F1 Racing magazine,
''and there was no better seat available.''
Villeneuve raced for BAR between 1999 and 2003 before he was ousted by
He admitted, however, that Button - embroiled in 'Buttongate' sagas
for two years on the trot - might face a problem if he ever wanted to
leave the Honda camp.
''Some team bosses,'' Jacques Villeneuve explained, ''might think
twice about signing him.''
'JVC' logo to Midland
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.10) Christijan Albers' 'JVC' sponsorship will move
with the 2005 Minardi rookie to his new home, Midland, next year.
A statement said the JVC logo would appear on the Dutchman's race
gear, cap and helmet, as well as the 2006 Midland car, to be branded
''We expect good results in 2006,'' said marketing director of JVC
Benelux, Ruud Nagel, ''and hope to support him and Midland ... for
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.10) In Germany's popular tabloid 'Bild' newspaper, a
bold headline exclaimed: 'Silber-rari'.
It's an amalgam of 'silver' and 'Ferrari' -- Bild's analysis of what
Red Bull might be like in the near future.
With a Ferrari engine and McLaren technical director Adrian Newey at
the design table, the team owned by Dietrich Mateschitz is tipped to
soon become a formula one force.
If you listen to McLaren-Mercedes, though, the albeit significant loss
of Newey is not the end of the world. Mercedes' Norbert Haug reckons
the silver camp is set up with 'broad enough a philosophy' to deal
with any hit.
''We are well prepared for 2006 and beyond,'' the German continued to
the 'SID' agency.
A Woking based spokeswoman, in addition, explained that Newey has been
'fully involved' in re-structuring the team to cope with his
''This team,'' she said, ''has already worked successfully together on
the (2005) MP4-20 and continues to be fully focused on the MP4-21.''
STR's F1 lineup 'still open'
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.10) The renamed 'Squadra Toro Rosso' team has not yet
decided on a driver lineup for the 2006 season.
Although an earlier document confirmed that Red Bull, who took over
Minardi on 1 November, would choose from Vitantonio Liuzzi, Christian
Klien, Neel Jani and Scott Speed, widespread supposition reckoned that
Speed and Liuzzi were in pole for the rides.
But an introductory 'Toro Rosso' team statement read: 'The question of
the 2006 cockpit occupants ... is still open'.
The Red Bull document also clarified that the 'name of the tire
supplier' is similarly yet to be decided upon, and vowed to comply
with the regulations by operating 'completely independently' of the
It is also worth noting that 'www.minardi.it' now redirects to the Red
Bull company internet website, as does 'www.squadratororosso.it'.
'At least I'm talented'
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.10) 1980 world champion Alan Jones has spiritedly
bitten back at former grand prix rival Christian Danner's claim that
he and Patrick Tambay are 'fat'.
The trio are part of fourteen ex-F1 stars to race in the novel 'Grand
Prix Masters' event in South Africa this weekend.
''Hey,'' Australia's Jones, 59, told Autosport, ''at least I'm
talented and I can lose weight.
''I'm just looking to have fun and see some old friends.''
Elsewhere, it is reported that Jones and fellow former champion
Emerson Fittipaldi may drive in a 'Proton Satria' support race at the
Sepang (Malaysia) round of the 'A1' category next weekend.
Dutchman Jan Lammers may also take part, as will A1 founder and Dubai
royal, Sheikh Maktoum.
Two more for 'RoC' lineup
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.10) F1 hopefuls Dan Wheldon and Sebastien Bourdais
have been added to the star-studded lineup for Paris' 'Race of
Champions' to be held in December.
Britain's Wheldon won the US based IRL championship in 2005, as well
as the Indy 500.
''I hear the atmosphere at the Stade de France is electric,'' Wheldon
- who 'accepted the invitation' of the RoC organizers - enthused.
Competitors are challenged at the wheel of Citroen WRC cars, Porsche
911, the Renault Megane and 'RoC' racer.
Frenchman Bourdais, meanwhile - back to back open wheel 'Champ Car'
winner - also took part in the event a year ago.
F1 stars David Coulthard and Felipe Massa, F1 hopeful Heikki
Kovalainen and former grand prix winner Jean Alesi are among the 2005
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.10) Think you can outwit eleven-year grand prix
veteran David Coulthard?
A unique 'motoring intelligence test', devised by eBay and Mensa, can
be found at 'www.ebaymotors.co.uk/miq'.
Coulthard, Red Bull's lead driver, has already taken the test, thus
challenging the wider world to tackle the Scot.
''Fingers crossed I've done enough to ward off other drivers and stay
on top of the leader board,'' 'DC' quipped.
The quiz, including a prize of $5000, runs until 20 November.
'Irv' is 40
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.10) Retired formula one playboy Eddie Irvine will be
celebrating his fortieth birthday on 10 November.
Born in Northern Ireland in 1965, a 28-year-old 'Irv' debuted with a
wallop at Suzuka (1993) by taking a punch on the mouth by Ayrton
Senna, who he had overtaken despite being a full lap down.
The crowning moment of his career came at the same circuit in 1999,
when he so nearly snared the championship after Ferrari team leader
Michael Schumacher had broken his leg.
Irvine retired in 2002 after three further years at Jaguar.
Elsewhere, it is reported that former F1, Champ Car and IRL driver
Roberto Moreno, of Brazil, will race a Brazilian V8 Stock Car at Rio
He raced 42 times for teams like Coloni, Benetton and Forti.
''I still need the challenge of motor racing in my life,'' he told the
'Speed TV' website.
Midland boss attacks Narain
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.10) Jordan-Midland principal Colin Kolles has
launched an astonishing attack on Narain Karthikeyan, after the Indian
rookie said he could not afford to stay at the team in 2006.
Kolles slammed the 28-year-old driver's 'unprofessional behavior and
his unprofessional management' and rubbished Karthikeyan's revelation
that a doubled bill ($9-14m) for the pay-drive is the reason for his
''Narain has lost out because of his management,'' Colin Kolles told
the Indian 'Economic Times' newspaper on Thursday.
''A pro driver has professional management but we didn't see that in
It is widely believed that Tiago Monteiro, Karthikeyan's '05 teammate
who is strongly backed by the Portuguese government, has landed the
second Midland 2006 race drive.
Kolles, who rebuked the Indian's $12 million claim, continued:
''Narain was just not available for us. He had a very fair offer from
us and it was much less than what he said.
''Money is not really the problem. To succeed in
formula one, one needs a lot more.''
Colin Kolles also denied that Jordan received any benefit from the
fact that Karthikeyan was the first Indian driver to race in the
''The benefits for us were zero,'' said the Romanian. ''It did nothing
Karthikeyan, who endured a trying relationship with the team boss,
rebuked Kolles' account by insisting he would have 'jumped' at the
Midland seat had the price tag been lower.
The Indian insisted: ''I stand by what I've said. If he doesn't like
the way we work, then don't like the way he works.''
Why Frank ignored 'Ant'
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.10) Sir Frank Williams has defended signing
20-year-old rookie Nico Rosberg, when the highly rated BAR test driver
Anthony Davidson was also on the market.
''Nico is a very intelligent and commanding driver,'' the Grove based
boss told Germany's Motorsport Aktuell magazine.
''As to whether he is good enough for formula one, we'll find out in
March next season.''
Surely, though, Williams knows more about the talents of countryman
Davidson, a long time BAR-Honda tester who was briefly considered for
Nick Heidfeld's 2005 drive.
But Briton Frank says he knows 'nothing at all' about the 26-year-old,
who raced twice for Minardi in 2002 and for BAR in the '05 Bahrain GP.
''He has only really driven (at grands prix) on the Fridays,''
Williams explained, ''so you never really know exactly under what
conditions he was driving.''
Little 'Ant', however, should not despair too much -- Williams is also
still coming to grips with the talent of Australian team driver Mark
While Frank lauds his 'outstanding' qualifying talents, he does wonder
whether Webber compares with F1's best in the grands prix. ''He has
still to prove that,'' he said.
Technical director Sam Michael backs his Oxfordshire-based boss.
''Mark has proved that he has a very high basic speed in qualifying,''
said Webber's countryman.
Michael continued: ''He does not always convert that to the races.''
Anyway, Williams would seemingly rather work with Webber and Rosberg
than the former lineup (2004) of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo
Sir Frank branded the departed pair, now racing for Toyota and
McLaren, 'Prima Donnas'.
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